He is unique, he is class, he is loyal and he is very, very good. He is positive, but always honest and you can't get anyone to say a bad word about him. I am talking about the great sports broadcaster Barry Tompkins.
Barry Tompkins has broadcasted sporting events around the world for years. Lots of people also know him for his great work doing play by play for west coast college football and basketball, mainly for Fox Sports.
John Hahn was fixture in the sports business on the west coast for 30 years and he told me the other day he has never met a nicer person in the sports broadcasting business than Barry Tompkins. That sentiment is prevailing by not only Hahn, but many other people in sports.
If you tune in to one of Tompkins' play by play broadcasts, unlike so many announcers today, if you want to hear how bad the officials are or how bad the coaching is, or the players stink, turn the sound down. Instead you will hear an assessment of the game that comes out as smooth as melted butter. Yes he will tell you if a player or referee messed up, but never like some play by play people today of being nauseating and the only thing they know how to focus on.
In Craw's Corner's continuing efforts to take you great readers of this blog behind the scenes of sports and west coast basketball, it was fun to request some thoughts from Barry Tompkins recently and it was fun to get some answers back.
Tompkins is happy to see the arc out in the front of the basket. He likes that rule change for college basketball for this season, with the intent to help officials with block/charge calls, but the real change he would like to see in college basketball is player can either can turn pro out of school, or if he does go to college, he needs to stay in school at least until his junior year. AMEN.
On any TV basketball broadcast, viewers see a great finished product. But as Tompkins points out, as a play by play announcer, it is what goes into the preparation for the broadcast that is the key. Doing both football and basketball, Tompkins see the two sports as totally different in preparation. In college basketball he gets chance to see the teams often more than once during the season, with so many games, which helps. He also likes the fact in basketball you only have for the most part, 12 players per team you have to know about. The speed of the game makes it tough to tell stories, but Tompkins needs to be totally prepared, so he goes to practices the day before the game and also to shoot-arounds the day of the game. Trust me , Barry Tompkins is always prepared.
Obviously for Tompkins, football, will be before basketball, but he does have some thoughts on west coast college hoops and things he is looking for this coming season. He is happy to see Sean Miller staying as the coach at Arizona, with potential for a national championship in coming years. Tompkins also is looking forward to see how far Dana Altman can take the Oregon Ducks in future years, as well as improvement coming from UCLA and California after down seasons in 2010-11.
Not to leave out the west coast conference, Tompkins is anxious to see BYU come into the league and challenge Gonzaga and St. Mary's and he also will be watching to see if San Francisco, Santa Clara and Portland can continue to make progress as they have been doing last year and for Portland the last three years under Eric Reveno as coach.
Barry Tompkins does not seek to be a broadcasting star, but he is for sure, a broadcasting STAR. He loves the energy of college basketball and lets his broadcasts go along for the ride. He loves doing college basketball, loves being around kids, as he thinks it goes a long way towards keeping him contemporary and he was sure to add it helps having a 20 year old son.
In any story about Barry Tompkins it would be remiss not to mention his 28 year broadcasting partnership with Dan Belluomini doing west coast college basketball. Like many others you talk to, Tompkins raves about Belluomini's knowledge. Tompkins says it best, "In those 28 years, there was never one game where I didn't learn something from Dan, that I didn't know before". Take it from Craw's Corner, Barry Tompkins is the voice of west coast basketball and Dan Belluomini is the historian of west coast basketball. There will never ever be a better pair doing games on west coast basketball.
One last thing, because Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini, are such great broadcasters, equally great people, throughout the longevity of this blog in highlighting teams, coaches, players and referees, Craw's Corner will be honoring Tompkins and Belluomini giving those teams, coaches, players and referees a BARRY or DANNY. I can hardly wait to give out the the first BARRY and DANNY.
That is the least I can do to honor two people who have brought so much enjoyment to people over the years when it comes to college basketball and continue to do as such.
I have never met Barry Tompkins, but I hope like myself, you have learned a little about him in this column.
Emails, to firstname.lastname@example.org